The summer wears on, and with it the work on the Hall. Most of us know that the main work is being done on the basement level, and most of us never go down there from week to week to see what all is being accomplished and how much progress is being made. That is probably all to the good – nobody needs an extra weekly dose of disappointment to what life routinely offers in the course of an average seven days. Still, once in a while a progress report needs must be made, and so here is a grab bag of news items on hall-related matters.
R The projected completion date for the renovation work has been pushed back yet again, and the earliest the work could be completed now is late August or early September. The most recent problem has to do with the fire alarm system. Comforting as it might be to report that this is a brand new, totally unexpected problem, the truth is quite different. Almost from the beginning, well over a year ago, the company selected to do this work was dragging their feet, missing deadlines, and failing to coordinate with the contractor, architect, and construction manager. So why not bring in someone new? That was my question, and the answer is way too long and unconvincing to present here. But now the construction manager thinks we are about as well positioned as we can be on this issue, and we should know more in a week or so how long and how expensive will be the fixes needed for this particular aspect of the work.
R As announced a couple of weeks ago, there was a break-in and the sound system speakers and their stands were stolen. Rather than simply replace immediately what was taken, we are using the moment to reconsider what we might be able to buy that would make the system better and more secure. Obviously, just leaving the speakers out in the open in a building whose alarm system had long since become inoperable was not a good idea… or at least, it is obvious now. Dan Murphy is taking a look at the sound system and sound system security matters, and will make his suggestions soon. The replacement of the Hall security alarm system will probably have to wait until the renovation work has been completed.
R Some people have been downstairs to look around, and several of them have commented that the new lift, or elevator, looks too small to accommodate comfortably a funeral casket. They are right: it is too small, or at least it is too small to bear a lot of the caskets that a normal parish can expect to receive. It is fine for a child’s casket, or that of a small or normal sized woman, but for larger women and even normal-sized men, it is too small. This is not an error made by either architect or contractor. Nearly two years ago, when the plans were first being drawn up, it was already clear that the changes wanted for the Hall could not be paid for with the monies that St. James had on hand. A smaller lift that what had originally been called for was suggested as a way of saving $20,000 and this proposal was adopted. And the lift we have will work for some caskets; the ones too big for it will simply have to be carried up the steps.
Well, there it is, at least for the moment. As more becomes known, more will be reported. And if you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to speak with Fr. Bob or Dave Bowman. If we know the answer, we’ll tell you, and if we don’t know, then we’ll try and find out.
Fr. Bob Sprott, O.F.M.